EOSmastering talks to: nsjames (Scatter)
Originally posted on Trybe
Remember when I mentioned how accessable and friendly the EOS space is? Well, here I am interviewing the man, the myth, the legend himself nsjames. The creator of Scatter. If you don’t know what Scatter is – it is in short an application that securely connects you to other applications on decentralised networks like EOS, Ethereum and Tron. Not only that, Scatter allows you to manage your assets, use hardware wallets and exchange tokens. Scatter is in my opinion the backbone of EOS, and their level of honesty and transparency is truly admirable. This is not some anonymous team where they “sleep” half the day. nsjames has not only been one of the most hard working people in EOS the past year but also one of the most accessable ones.
That’s why it is such a pleasure and treat to get the opportunity to talk to you! So who is nsjames? What’s your background in tech?
Really, I’m just a normal guy. I’ve spent a long time in the tech world and have been deep into computers since a young age. Blockchain is just the natural progression of that interest
I think that is stretching the term “normal” a little bit, but I think I know where you are coming from. You remind me of some people I am so lucky to know. They build amazing stuff, but they focus on that and not dressing up nice and trying to “act as if”. Their actions and results speak for itself – and nothing more is really needed. I rather have a brilliant guy talk about something with a messy living room as background than some charlatan speak nonsense about knowledge in his “garage”
How did you come up with the idea for Scatter? Had you been thinking about it for a long time?
Actually, not at all. When I first learned about EOSIO I joined the “EOS Developers” telegram channel and just hung out for a week or so listening to all the conversations and learning as much as I could.
When I finally asked the group what the most important thing to make at that stage would be (this was mid December 2017) the answer was unanimously a web extension / wallet that allows dapp interfacing.
I also knew I couldn’t build anything else that I wanted to build until something like that existed, so it was an easy choice. The first web extension was released around a week or so later. So Scatter was available about 6
months before the mainnet launch which helped a lot of dapp developers get a leg up on the launch and have apps ready.
Back in June last year when I first thought f it, where do I jam my private key into this Scatter thing – someone explained to me it worked almost like Metamask. Was Metamask an inspiration?
I think that every single wallet / signature provider like Scatter owes MetaMask at the very least a courteous bow and nod of acknowledgement if not full blown praise for their innovations. They really lead the way into a new way of interfacing with dapps using blockchain accounts.
At this stage Scatter is vastly different from the same scheme that MetaMask (and other extensions) use to connect to dapps (we use local sockets instead of extension injection), but the path that we followed to get where we are today very much was influenced by metamask
And now that Scatter is growing and innovating in the phase it is, how many work for you?
Up until a few months ago it was 1. Then 2, and now it’s 5 with more being hired monthly.
Did you anticipate and plan to grow and expand to this extent when you first started?
Not particularly. Initially it was my personal plan to just make dapps. With the incredible support we got from the community though it became very apparent that we were needed and instead of Scatter becoming a path to walk down it became the final destination. Now, we’re just trying our best to make blockchain easy and safe for those that use Scatter.
Is World domination the next step?
Not tonight pinky, not tonight.
Lately too many people have experienced scam attempts. Something I’ve been wondering about is how does the security work? Let’s say I try to log into a phishing site/scam site and I log in with Scatter. Could they easily just make me sign a contract that doesn’t do what it say it will do? Like; “sign here to get reward” but in reality I signed there to “let them steal my private key”
There’s actually a lot that goes on under the hood when you interact with websites, and also a lot of continuous work that goes into that interaction fueled by us being open-source and allowing other open-source developers to contribute. When you sign into a website, it does nothing more but add a “view” permission to Scatter which says that that application can get access to the information that you elect to provide it. For instance if you login with “Account1” it will never even know you have “Account2”.
Because Scatter is a desktop application, it makes phishing almost impossible. Unlike extensions the windows aren’t browser windows, but real application windows; which web apps can’t fake. This heightens the security considerably when talking about phishing applications. Even if a fake window were to be made, there would be nothing that the malicious window could do since it still needs to go through Scatter via the sockets which turns all data into JSON and strips away functions that could be run (eval).
That’s good to know. I want to add that I urge anyone who use or is planning on using the EOS network that they do two important things to provide security for themselves(there are more things to do which you can read about here ) 1: Create an active private key. Always use that when interacting with dapps. If something goes wrong, you can then use your Owners private key to change the active key. 2: Create at least one other account to spread the risk. Keep most of your EOS on a secure account that never interacts with dapps.
I suppose a lot of people don’t read the transactions very carefully..Are there some essential things everyone should know? I have attached a post it note on my mac saying; “don’t click updateauth EVER”.
Sadly, they really don’t. It’s part of the cause of the recent Telos scam and has caused us to take more liberal actions when spreading warnings across popups. For instance that “updateauth” popup now has blaring red warnings, and we’re most likely going to default the ability to do those outside of Scatter to “off” with a way to set that in settings. It’s really hard covering all surfaces especially when some surfaces are actually baked right into the blockchain itself (such as the case of updateauth, which is a totally valid action in EOSIO blockchains). We don’t know what we don’t know, and sometimes it takes something happening for us to spot it as a threat and provide a solution.
I suppose you can’t avoid some sad stories happening in a new space like this – but I am glad you guys are so quick to react and do what you can to help us users to stay as protected as possible. But yeah, everyone must understand that this space is not run in the way you are used to from the centralised world. Freedom requires responsibility of your own actions – and that is something many people are not used to.
Jumping straight into something more fun – namely gaming. I have been asking people what they believe will be the next thing after gambling, and the answer has been gaming all over the board. Do you agree?
We agree. We have a huge focus on gaming and a lot of Scatter is set up specifically for gaming (like being the only desktop wallet able of providing signatures to native desktop games).
I think once a few real triple A games hit the market, the possibility of mass adoption rises significantly.
Amen. I recently heard about something called dGoods, which I think is created by Mythical Games and is going to be a open source free standard for handling all types of virtual items on EOS blockchain. Seeing that you are a partner with them, what is going to be Scatter’s role with dGoods?
I think our main focus there is just making sure that wallets can integrate with a token standard in the best way possible. It’s a challenge with something as dynamic and diverse as the dGoods standard, but it’s making great progress.
We also have the unique position of being extremely fluent in EOSIO software and practices and provide any and all support we can in those terms as well.
As the blockchain gaming industry moves forward – and it will because scarce unique resources and items existing as tokenised assets on a blockchain IS what has been missing in gaming all these years – but honestly how much really needs to be ON CHAIN?
I really don’t think everything needs to be on chain. There’s a scaling issue which isn’t caused by the blockchain softwares but the minds of the app developers. This concept of “everything must be decentralized” isn’t just limiting it also goes against pretty much all programming concepts. You wouldn’t try to use OAuth to store database rows any more than you should use a smart contract to store constant flows of vector3 positions for characters. There are things that need to be on chain like what treasure boxes hold what items and where they are, and there’s things that should not be on chain like where bullet holes are in a level or the fact that you just pressed spacebar to jump.
Haha. That would be completely useless, I agree. Every step made in a wast wilderness in a huge MMORPG recorded on the blockchain forever. We really don’t need to store completely useless garbagelike information.
I bought some RIDL tokens without doing any research of course – but since they were made by you guys I figured why not. What are they?
The RIDL token is purely a store of ownership. It is a utility token by nature which is really only useful within the RIDL system itself as it is used to give reputation. Your reputation isn’t equal to the amount of RIDL you have, but rather the amount of RIDL that has been spent on you. The value isn’t in the tokens, it is in the reputations. The tokens are just a necessary byproduct to define ownership and quantities of transferable bytes.
The system itself has unidentifiable value. The two things we are using RIDL for is a firewall inside of Scatter (to display warnings about various malicious apps and dangerous actions) and a rating system for apps themselves. That is just a very small part of what RIDL can be used for though. You can use it to replace YouTube thumbs systems, or credit and insurance scores, or just to rate people in a game on whether they are friendly or not. The possibilities are literally endless and we’re excited to see what people build with it.
And that’s it! Thank you SO much for taking the time to do this nsjames. I actually learned a lot, so at least it was worth it for me personally. 😀